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(Boston, Mass.) — The dedication of the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse took place in Boston this afternoon, Tuesday, June 20, at 2 p.m. Mass. Gov. Paul Cellucci led a large delegation of state officials and other dignitaries, including the mayors of Washington and Boston and the presidents of Boston and Howard Universities, in tribute to Brooke, who served Massachusetts as Attorney General and Senator.
“The name Edward W. Brooke is synonymous in this state with integrity and conviction,” said Gov. Paul Cellucci. “This building stands as a symbol of justice, and justice for the poor, the elderly and the innocent is something that Ed Brooke has fought for all of his professional life.”
Located in the heart of downtown Boston near the State House and City Hall, the Brooke Courthouse is the newest addition to the Massachusetts Trial Courts facilities.
The $102 million six-story courthouse, which features a dramatic five-story atrium under a glass skylight, contains 18 courtrooms and 24 judges’ lobbies. More than 600 employees work in the courthouse, which houses the Boston Juvenile Court, Boston Housing Court, Land Court, Suffolk Probate and Family Court, and the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.
In addition to Gov. Cellucci, speakers included: Lt. Gov. Jane Swift; Chief Justice Margaret Marshall of the state Supreme Judicial Court; Chief Justice Barbara Dortch-Okara, of the Administrative Office of the Trial Court; H. Patrick Swygert, president of Howard University; Jon Westling, president of Boston University; Anthony A. Williams, mayor of Washington, D.C.; Thomas M. Menino, mayor of Boston; Thomas F. Reilly, Massachusetts Attorney General; and Thomas M. Finneran, speaker of the Massachusetts House.Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert said, “I am here simply to say thank you on behalf of the thousands, the hundreds of thousands, who are the beneficiaries of your efforts.”
Boston University President Jon Westling said, “We remember him for his energy, intelligence, and probity, and we are deeply proud that the qualities we saw early in his life led to those remarkable accomplishments we recognize today.”
Chief Justice Barbara Dortch-Okara, of the Administrative Office of the Trial Court, said, “We can take strength from a living legend, a man who began his public life here in Boston and who remains as an inspiration.”
Thomas M. Finneran, speaker of the Massachusetts House said, “This is a magnificent statement about the high regard and esteem we hold for Senator Brooke. He united us and led us not just by word but by deed.”
Brooke served in the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts from 1966 to 1979, becoming the first African-American popularly elected to the United States Senate, and the first to serve in the Senate since Reconstruction.
Brooke became the first African-American in the United States to be elected a state Attorney General, in 1962, establishing a strong reputation as a crime fighter and an adversary of public corruption.
During his distinguished career in the Senate, Brooke strongly opposed escalation of the Vietnam war, successfully fought the MIRV and ABM proposals that would have expanded Cold War nuclear arsenals, and was the catalyst in bringing about improved relations leading to the recognition of the People’s Republic of China. He was the author of “the Brooke Amendment,” providing that tenants of public housing pay no more than 25 percent of their income for housing, and he was an outspoken champion of the rights of women, African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, senior citizens and the poor.
An alumnus of the Boston University School of Law and Howard University, Brooke was a decorated officer with the 366th Infantry Regiment in Italy during World War II. He is a native of Washington, D.C. and now resides in Warrenton, Va., with his wife, Anne. He is currently writing his memoirs.